“Choice” Moments: Trump’s Alter Ego

Share:
October 20, 2016

In 1980, Donald Trump faced a media firestorm when he ordered the demolition of two valuable art deco sculptures that were delaying the construction of Trump Tower. Over the next few days, reporters tried to reach Trump for comment, but they instead heard from “John Barron,” an alter ego that Trump would sometimes use when he spoke with journalists.

“I don’t think Donald was necessarily evasive with the press when he used his alter ego John Barron,” says Barbara Res, a former vice president of the Trump Organization. “I think it gave him the opportunity to say things that he couldn’t say as Donald Trump.”

During the 1980s and 1990s, Trump would use such alter egos whenever he was under intense press scrutiny, including once in 1991 when a reporter from People magazine captured him going by the name “John Miller” on tape.

“Trump’s Alter Ego” was drawn from FRONTLINE’s reporting for The Choice 2016, filmmaker Michael Kirk and his team’s dual biography of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Since 1988, The Choice has brought viewers in-depth, interwoven biographies of the two major-party U.S. presidential candidates. You can watch an encore presentation on Tues., Nov. 7 at 10 p.m. EST/9 p.m. CST on PBS, or stream the film anytime on the FRONTLINE website.


In order to foster a civil and literate discussion that respects all participants, FRONTLINE has the following guidelines for commentary. By submitting comments here, you are consenting to these rules:

Readers' comments that include profanity, obscenity, personal attacks, harassment, or are defamatory, sexist, racist, violate a third party's right to privacy, or are otherwise inappropriate, will be removed. Entries that are unsigned or are "signed" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. We reserve the right to not post comments that are more than 400 words. We will take steps to block users who repeatedly violate our commenting rules, terms of use, or privacy policies. You are fully responsible for your comments.

blog comments powered by Disqus

More Stories

Wisconsin Recount Targets 2 Democratic Strongholds, Home to Black and Hispanic Voters
Unlike other places, where the Trump campaign has pursued statewide recounts, the Wisconsin request was limited to Dane and Milwaukee Counties, where Biden held solid leads.
November 25, 2020
7 New Documentaries to Watch over Thanksgiving Break in 2020
Plus, one new podcast to listen to.
November 25, 2020
‘I'm Not A Monster’: Who's Who from the Podcast
Meet the key players in 'I Am Not A Monster,' a special podcast series on how an American mother ended up in the heart of ISIS' self-declared caliphate.
November 24, 2020
On Night of Ginsburg’s Death, McConnell Pushed Trump to Nominate Amy Coney Barrett
An excerpt from FRONTLINE’s ‘Supreme Revenge: Battle for the Court’ goes inside Sen. McConnell’s swift maneuvering to achieve a 6-3 conservative majority.
November 24, 2020